This story has been corrected.
University of Nebraska College of Journalism and Mass Communications news contributor Molly Chapple has written an article on the school’s website featuring Rebekka Schlichting, a 2016 master’s grad from the CoJMC professional journalism track, who is using her journalism skills to tell stories of Native American people.
Schlichting, Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, completed her bachelor of science in journalism at the University of Kansas in 2014. After graduation, she said in the article that she “knew she wanted to expand her knowledge in journalism and work to help fight for Native rights.”
Schlichting currently works as assistant director at Vision Maker Media, and was recently recognized with a 40 under 40 award from The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
At the school, Schlichting was a graduate assistant and project coordinator for the depth reporting class that produced “The Wounds of Whiteclay: Nebraska’s Shameful Legacy,” a project that examined the issues surrounding four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, adjacent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
According to Chapple’s article, the project received several awards, “including the grand prize at the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards ceremony in 2017.
Marking the first time in the event’s 49-year history that the top prize went to a college group. The coverage also played a role in the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s discussions leading to a vote to repeal the liquor licenses in the four stores in Whiteclay. The stores stopped selling alcohol in April 2017.
Schlichting commented on the process of the project and spoke of the importance of getting an education as a Native woman.
“It helped me to be comfortable in large amounts of people at once and gave me invaluable research skills, amazing opportunities and life long friends, not just with the students but with the professors, too,” she said.
“Growing up on the reservation and being surrounded by elders, they always told me to go get an education and then come back and help my people,” she said. “That’s what my passion and focus has always been.”